EL DORADO The man suspected of killing a southeast Kansas sheriff received official notice Thursday that the state plans to seek the death penalty if he's convicted by a jury.
Scott Cheever, 23, is charged with capital murder in the January 2005 shooting death of Greenwood County Sheriff Matt Samuels. Authorities say the sheriff was gunned down while trying to serve warrants on Cheever at a rural home with a working meth lab.
Greenwood County Attorney Ross McIlvain served the legal notice of the intent to seek the death penalty after Cheever's arraignment Thursday in Butler County District Court.
Earlier, Cheever remained silent during his arraignment as Butler County District Judge Mike Ward entered a not-guilty plea and set trial for Oct. 9.
Still to be decided is where the trial would be held. Because all judges in Greenwood County were acquainted with Samuels, the case is being handled in Butler County.
However, Ward said Thursday he expects that a change of venue will be requested to still another county.
Besides capital murder, Cheever also is charged with four counts of attempted capital murder and one count each of manufacturing methamphetamine and criminal possession of a firearm.
Cheever's next court date is May 14, when the judge expects to hear the first round of pretrial motions. Capital murder cases involving the death penalty usually include numerous motions prior to trial.
During a preliminary hearing last month, witnesses testified that Samuels had gone with two deputies to the home to serve warrants on Cheever for absconding from parole and for suspected theft of handguns from his stepfather.
Former Greenwood County Deputy Mike Mullins testified that Samuels entered the house first. Mullins said he heard two gunshots almost immediately and went into the house, where he found the sheriff alive but badly wounded. Mullins said he knelt to try to help Samuels.
Mullins said he and another deputy pulled Samuels onto the porch. Cheever was arrested about seven hours later when members of the Kansas Highway Patrol's Special Response Team entered the house, protected by a bulletproof shield.